Church Built on Love, Says Papal Preacher

Theme of 4th Full Day of Papal Retreat

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 4, 2004 ( After the death and resurrection of Christ, a new relation takes place in the Church between God and every person, says the preacher at this week’s papal retreat.

The theme developed this morning by the preacher, Monsignor Bruno Forte, was “In the Communion of the Church: The Church, Image of the Trinity.”

The gift of participation in the life of the Trinity is expressed in a new relation between God and man, Monsignor Forte said, addressing John Paul II and Roman Curia officials gathered in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel. The central element of this relation is the Church, he said on the fourth full day of the Spiritual Exercises.

“The Church, which Jesus came to establish on earth, is the community of the sons who are such in the Son, loved in the beloved. It is the Church of love,” said the president of the School of Theology of Southern Italy.

“Everything in the Church comes from the love of the Trinity,” he continued. The heart of the Church is the “agape,” the love that comes from on high and returns on high, becoming the rule of life of Jesus’ disciples.

“The Church comes from God, from the Trinity. God has had time for man, and man’s days have become the penultimate time, that span which takes place between the first coming and his return,” the preacher explained in a passage heard on Vatican Radio.

Monsignor Forte dedicated the “lectio divina” to the contemplation of the Blessed Virgin’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. “In the school of Mary, we learn to act following the One who has revealed to us the Triune God of love, that is, in charity,” he said.

Contemplation of the Trinity is the key to the reading of passages of the Old and New Testament on which Monsignor Forte is reflecting.

The papal Spiritual Exercises will conclude on Saturday morning.

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